The Art of Child Rearing

Adam Gopnik:

Child rearing is an art, and what makes art art is that it is doing several things at once. The trick is accepting limits while insisting on standards. Character may not be malleable, but behavior is. The same parents can raise a dreamy, reflective girl and a driven, competitive one—the job is not to nurse her nature but to help elicit the essential opposite: to help the dreamy one to be a little more driven, the competitive one to be a little more reflective.

Gopnik concludes:

Nothing works in child rearing because everything works. If kids are happy and absorbed, in the flow, that’s all we can ask of them, in Berlin or in Brooklyn. Nothing works in the long run, but the mistake lies in thinking that the long run is the one that counts.